"It's always a great time hanging out with Maria."
Chef Maria Mazon of BOCA Tacos y Tequila is teaming up with chef Byron Gomez, who was a fellow contestant on Top Chef: Portland, for a “Latina Comida” dinner. The big, multi-course meal is happening at BOCA Tacos y Tequila at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 30.
However, the evening before, the two chefs will be hosting a free meet-and-greet at The Red Light Lounge at the Downtown Clifton from 5 – 7 p.m. on Friday, October 29.
The beginning of a lifelong friendship
In episode eight the most recent season of Top Chef — named “War Games” AKA “Restaurant Wars” — chef Mazon came out on top, winning the challenge with Team Kokoson. Chef Gomez was also part of that team that fused Japanese and Latin cuisine.
“Maria’s cuisine and my cuisine are very different but we both instill Latin flavors,” said chef Byron Gomez. “That’s who we are, that’s what we do. But I’m a little bit more fine dining and she’s more on the rustic side. She’s so free-spirited and that’s an inspiration for me. She keeps me grounded. I feel like I’m at my aunt’s house cooking with someone that’s very noble and just has great energy. We always crack up.”
Latina Comida Dinner Event
The six-course meal has been prepared by both chefs and they’ll be creating a special menu inspired by their Mexican and Costa Rican heritage. Also, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project’s children’s program.
Each course is unique in its own, including the Achiote Flowering Cauliflower with Palmito Sauce — something chef Gomez says is one of the more common ingredients in Costa Rica.
“The fact that we are able to feature it and almost make a cochinita pibil preparation out of vegetables instead of pork, I think is very, very important,” said Gomez. “It’s something that I kind of look forward to — cooking more sustainable and vegetable-driven dishes. I think it highlights and, you know, pays homage to both of our cultures.”
Latina Comida Dinner Menu
- Tequila Reposado – Nixta licor de elote, citrus, agave, and Combier
- Ojo de Tigre Mezcal – Orange juice, grapefruit bitters, and Jamaica
- Abasolo Whiskey de Elote – Mole bitter and agave
- Ostra – Medium-sized oysters, grilled oyster foam, pickled chayote squash, and cilantro
- Cream de Calabaza – Smoked pumpkin crema and topped with candied chiles and caviar
- Bistec Crudo – Filet mignon, chorizo yuca crumb, yellow plantain, roasted avocado puree, jicama, micro cilantro, and fried tortillas
- Trio of Moles and Fried Fish – Sesame mole, mole verde, and mole negro served with tempura res snapper
- Achiote Flowering Cauliflower with Palmito Sauce – Roasted cauliflower, achiote glaze, palmito sauce, cilantro oil, and black radish
- Taco de Pato – Roasted shredded duck, served on a homemade corn tortilla and topped with a nopal salsa
- Dessert – (it’s a surprise)
Meet and Greet at The Red Light Lounge
Like mentioned earlier, chef Mazon and chef Gomez will also be at The Red Light Lounge on Friday, October 29 for a meet and greet from 5 – 7 p.m. It’s a neat opportunity to chat with them, take photos, and enjoy the ambiance of the Downtown Clifton Hotel.
Plus, the event is free to attend.
“I love meeting new people, new opportunities, and being able to tell my story,” said Gomez. “It’s just something that is very, very awesome.”
BOCA Tacos y Tequila is located at 533 N. Fourth Ave. For more information and to buy your tickets to the dinner, visit eventbrite.com.